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Help me build my first dream system...

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fixall

Registered
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
I'm sorry Guys' this is another one of those "So I'm building a computer..." posts, here goes.



Location (for shipping prices) - United States of America

Main purpose of build - Gaming with a focus on games with realistic sceneries. (Also will be used for graduate research maybe 40-50 windows open at a time).

Budget - $1500 - $1800 for a complete setup after rebates.


I'm building a computer for myself for the very first time. I have built several computers for friends and family over the years but this will be the first one all for ME (who am I kidding my gf is just as excited about this build.)! And boy is it long overdue. My current system is a Dell Dimension 4400 with a Pentium 4 running at 2Ghz, a Sapphire HD 3650 512Mb (agp no less, rofl) overclocked to 900Mhz, 1gb DDR (the maximum the board can handle of course), an HP 3 button mouse, the original Dell Keyboard, Logitech X 140 pc speakers, and to top it off the stock 17" CRT monitor. Now you see my misery. After you finish laughing if you'd like to HELP ME please continue to read.

Over the next several months I'll be slowly building my computer. I'll be purchasing components one or two pieces at a time because of product availability (recalls, etc), not having enough cash on hand to purchase it all at once, new hardware coming out, and other personal reasons. I'm going to post the list of components in the order that I plan on purchasing them (feel free to to shoot me advice on changing the order), I will update the list as I purchase each component to let you know I purchased it and the final price of it. I will also be updating the list continuously as your advice and information influence my decisions. The positive thing about buying each piece over time is that I'll be able to occasionally splurge on a better quality component and my budget is more flexible. I know I've set a budget of $1400-$1800 but it's very likely (and ok) that it will get closer to $2000-$2200.

Thanks again everyone who helps! This is one of THE (in my opinion) "go to" sites for it's member's amazing depth of knowledge on subjects such as this.



1. Operating System. No room for negotiation here as I just bought a copy of Windows 7 Professional online for $65 with a student discount. One down, lol. - PURCHASED - $65



2. Monitor. I'll be buying this first for the simple fact that it's an upgrade I can get some benefits from immediately. I'm coming from an 40lb CRT relic, anything will be better. I'd like something that can handle quick graphics pretty smoothly and be capable of HD. I'm also a big fan of LED backlighting as it's more efficient and usually mercury free. Green without a loss in performance is huge for me. Also, I know (and understand) the love for IPS screens but to be honest I'm happy with the looks of a TFT.

Current leader - Asus VH238H 23" 1080p 2ms LED Backlit Monitor - PURCHASED - $170 after shipping.



3. Computer Speakers. Again this will be one of the first things I buy for the simple fact that I can use it right away. I don't need surround sound. I just need nice sounding 2.1 setup. Pretty basic.

Current leader - Klipsch Promedia 2.1 THX Certified Computer Speakers - PURCHASED - $100 after tax at a local Best Buy.



4. Mouse. This I'm thinking will be next because of the same reasons as above and also because I don't expect any groundbreaking Mice to come out in my purchase time frame. I have small hands so something not too overly large would be nice. A few thumb keys for macros is a must. I really despise wireless mice and anything with a physical trackball.

Current leader- Razer DeathAdder 3.5G Mouse - PURCHASED - $35 after shipping (I took the advice of many members and choose this mouse after trying the feel of several in a store. Love the feel. Love the Infrared.



5. Keyboard. For exactly the same reasons as the previous components this is next on my list. I REALLY want a mechanical keyboard. I don't need a bunch of media buttons but some extra macro keys would be great. Easily reachable function keys is also a plus. As with with my mice, I hate wireless keyboards. Also a small onboard monitor for gpu/cpu/fan speed would be sweet but by no means necessary.

Current leader - Filco Majestouch 2 tenkeyless (cherry mx brown) - PURCHASED - $100 after shipping. (It pays to have family in Japan.) *Edited* New keyboard decision compliments of the GEEKHACK forum.



6. Computer Case. I was thinking a case next as I would love to have a place to store the components I slowly purchase. A decently large sized case is a must as I plan to put 1-2 large sized GPU's in it (thinking maybe a 570, possibly sli). Good air flow is mandatory as I will be overclocking. Water cooling compatability at this point doesn't matter. I would prefer nothing too flashy, I like a "clean" look. USB's/headphone jacks in the front, a bottom mount PSU, dust filters, and a removable motherboard tray are some of the options I was thinking would be great.

Current leader - Corsair 650D Obsidian Series Mid-Tower - PURCHASED - $160 after rebate with free shipping. *Edited* New case idea from Galaganaban

*Changed from Corsair 600T because of concerns over airflow issues... and this new one is the one of the most gorgeous cases I've ever seen.



7. Power Supply. This is another component I don't expect to change much, price or technology wise too soon. I'm a big fan of efficiency so an 80 plus gold rated PSU might be nice. I'm planning on starting with one 570 (unless you guys' sway me otherwise) and possibly upgrading to two. I will be overclocking these, as well as the processor (probably a 2500k?). I'm thinking maybe 850w? Is that enough? A modular psu is also something I've really wanted.

Current leader - Corsair 850HX 80 Plus Silver Modular PSU - *Edited* New psu idea from Hero_lief.

*Switched from the gold rated Ax series as this one has more connectors and it shouldn't make much of a differance performance-wise. Several people have also suggested the - XFX Black Edition 850w 80 Plus Silver Modular PSU any thoughts on it?



8. Hard Drive. This will be mainly for video, picture, and software storage. All my steam based games will also be on this drive (Team Fortress 2, Fallout series, Borderlands etc). I will be picking up an SSD for the operating system and the two main games that will be played on the system. 1TB should be more than sufficient as I currently have 100Gb, lol. A large platter size and decent speed would be great. Reliabilty is a MUST. Noise doesn't matter to me. Efficiency again is a plus! It's very possible I'll be picking up a second 1Tb down the road, but no need for it anytime soon.

Current leader- Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive - *Edited* I originally had the business version of this product because of fears of reliability, but SEVERAL people have told me of the F3's reliability as long as it fires up the first time.

*I am also still looking at a - Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6.0GB/S Hard Drive but I'm unsure if I would see any speed increases...



9. Optical Drive. Bluray burning capability would be sweet. Bluray playback is a must. As is DVD/CD burning at a minimum. A decent speed would be great, and nothing to gaudy with all those pre-placed stickers and junk.

Current leader - LG 12x Blu-ray/16x DVD Burner with Lightscribe - *Edited* Placeholder. When I buy a drive it'll probably just be whatever the best deal on the best product is at the time. Everytime I look at Newegg, there is a new drive or a new sale on another drive.



10. Memory. Unless you know better than I, this is next on my list. I don't need anything outrageous but I would like to make my computer a bit future friendly. The most work the computer will see is an online FPS or MMO while using ventrilo and possibly listening to music. Other than that some light graphic design on some days. I'm thinking maybe 8Gb? I WILL NOT be overclocking the ram.

Current leader - G. Skill Sniper 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 1.5v RAM - *Edited* New RAM idea from Why_Me.

*Switched from Corsair Vengeance kit as I won't be overclocking my ram, I hated the heatsinks, and I like the lower 1.5 voltage on this ram.



11. Solid State Drive. Yay! Finally I'm getting to the fun parts! I've never owned one of these myself but I have worked with them a couple times. Speed is definately the most important aspect of this component for me. I really want to give the new Sata3 (or Sata 6GB/s, whichever it's called) a try. It doesn't need to be very large as it will only be storing Windows 7, Lord of the Rings Online (yes... yes I know, it got me off WoW though), and The Sims 3 series (girlfriend looooves them). I was thinking just something like a 64Gb. Unless the price drops on the 120Gb models a good amount.

Current leader - Corsair Force Series 3 120GB SSD - (Depending on whether or not Corsair can get it's issues resolved in time)



12. Motherboard. The current plan is to go for an Intel 2500k Processor. I'm hoping to overclock it to a very stable 4.5Ghz. A great Bios is a MUST along with great voltage options.

Current leaders - Asus P8P67 Deluxe Motherboard or or ASRock Extreme6 P67 Motherboard *Edited* Added new Motherboards to the list. Thank you to Why_Me and Hero_Lief.

*Depending on how long the build takes this could change with the upcoming Ivy Bridge processors.*



13. Processor. Some hefty power would be AWESOME! Although anything is going to make the single core 2Ghz P4 I'm using seem like a calculator I'm guessing. I would really like to get around 4.5Ghz out of the Processor I pick up (air cooled or one of the Corsair H series sealed liquid units). I think if I'm lucky enough to get a decently binned 2500k I should be able to achieve that. Do you think It would be worth the extra $100 to pick up a 2600k, turn hyper-threading off and go from there? Are the 2600k a much better binned processor? I don't think AMD has anything to bring to the table at the moment maybe when the new desktop fusion/Dozer/whatever cpu's come out.

Current leader - Intel Core I5-2500k Sandy Bridge CPU

*Depending on how long the build takes this could change with the upcoming Ivy Bridge processors.*




14. Processor Cooling. I haven't worked with this socket so I'm just going to stick with brands I've used in the past and liked. Like I said I would like to get to a stable 4.5Ghz. Air cooled. I was thinking of a Cooler Master or maybe a Zalman?

Current leader - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus 120mm CPU Cooler

*I've also been looking at this - Corsair Hydro H70 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler



15. Graphics Processing Unit. Last but not least! The Video card!! I would like to be able to run Lord of the Rings Online with Ultra Graphics at 1080 resolution (Can anyone tell me about the performance increases they get from SLI in this game? Or what about TS3?). Other than that I have rather eclectic tastes in video games. I really enjoy games with realistic scenery so the more power the better. I WILL be overclocking this GPU so an OC friendly card is a must, also that means I don't really care if it comes factory overclocked unless there is a company that bins their overclocked GPU's (like do the EVGA superclocked models tend to be more stable at higher overclocks?). I'm not a huge fan of ATI as I have had a significant amount of terrible experiences with driver's issues. I will be starting with one card but will possibly be picking up a second card a month after the first so decent SLI (or if you persuade me crossfire) scaling would be cool. A good warranty is bueno.

*Edit*Since this will be my first somewhat highend GPU and I will be trying for an overclock I really think I want to go the EVGA route because of their amazing warranty. I'm even thinking spending the few extra bucks and picking up the superclocked version as it seems like if it's guaranteed stable at the already factory OC'ed levels it would have a higher chance of being able to be oc'ed even more. Any logic in that run-on sentence?

Current leader - EVGA GTX 570 Superclocked

*Depending on how long the build takes this could change with the upcoming 600 series GPUs.*



*Edited* - Added a budget soundcard to the build as per the suggestions of many people. Thank you to Deltatux for this particular soundcard suggestion.

Current leader - ASUS Xonar DS 7.1 Channel 24-Bit Soundcard




So that's it! That's my entire build. Besides the thermal compound and maybe a couple new fans and whatnot, unless there are any components I missed?


Any feedback, advice, suggestions, criticism of the build... Anything is very welcomed and would be greatly appreciated!!! Like I said, this is my first personal build. I REALLY want to enjoy it. Help me out here.


Thanks again everyone!

P.S.
Feel free to start the flaming, also tl;dr I know...
 
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TheQuadFather

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2010
Location
Hampshire, England
looks like a solid build to me, no issues i can think of, but i reckon there will be some case arguments, because apparently the 600T runs a little warm so be ready for them to spend your money for you ;)
 

gregers05

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2009
looks good to me.

for the hardrives i would definitely go with the WD black

cpu cooler...might want to look into something else if you plan to OC to 4.5.
i have megahalems on my i7 at 4GHz and running around 50*C

other than that looks like a good build!
 

Marshmallow64

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2009
Location
California
Your psu is overkill for the build, but if you do plan on doing a SLI setup in the near future, then it will be suffice. I know OCZ has been getting a lot of bad rep recently, but I will still recommend it, cause its cheap and you will feel the ssd power. Get either the 60 gigs or 120 gigs ocz vertex 2. On top of that get the wd black for storage.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227550

Everything else looks solid. I am guessing it will take you awhile to build due to the motherboard being out of stock, and it will be out of stock till late March. If you plan on taking that long to build, I would hold off on getting the ssd, harddrive, and video card. This is because those things will be dropping down in price.

New ssd generation coming out late March, will be dropping current ones down in price. Hopefully that drives down traditional hd pricing. Nvidia and Ati are both releasing a dual gpu card soon, although I think it is more like late April. But regardless, video cards will never go up in price, only down, unless there is some crazy shortage in the market, which I do not see happening.
 

Prime

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
I said this already to someone today but I'm waiting till April for my next case. Corsair id bringing out the mid-tower version of the 800D: http://www.corsair.com/cases/obsidian-series/obsidian-series-650d.html

And I also did the same thing for sandybridge, I dont have a need for hyperthreading so I went with the 2500k :)

Lastly Corsair makes a great PSU but for my next purchase I'll be getting a Seasonic. They manufacture their psu's unlike most companies out there, and always have top notch quality and crazy efficiency. not to mention its a usa based company :)
 
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OP
F

fixall

Registered
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
looks like a solid build to me, no issues i can think of, but i reckon there will be some case arguments, because apparently the 600T runs a little warm so be ready for them to spend your money for you ;)

Several other people have told me that the 600T runs a bit warm. Thanks for the input! I've recently switched out cases.
 
OP
F

fixall

Registered
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
looks good to me.

for the hardrives i would definitely go with the WD black

cpu cooler...might want to look into something else if you plan to OC to 4.5.
i have megahalems on my i7 at 4GHz and running around 50*C

other than that looks like a good build!

From what I've read, with the new Sandy Bridge architecture, with a little luck (let's hope they ship me a strong cpu) I should be able to hit 4.5Ghz relatively easy with that cooler. The WD Caviar Black is very much still an idea. It will mainly depend on the pricing at the moment I am buying an hdd. Thanks! :D
 
Last edited:
OP
F

fixall

Registered
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Your psu is overkill for the build, but if you do plan on doing a SLI setup in the near future, then it will be suffice. I know OCZ has been getting a lot of bad rep recently, but I will still recommend it, cause its cheap and you will feel the ssd power. Get either the 60 gigs or 120 gigs ocz vertex 2. On top of that get the wd black for storage.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227550

Everything else looks solid. I am guessing it will take you awhile to build due to the motherboard being out of stock, and it will be out of stock till late March. If you plan on taking that long to build, I would hold off on getting the ssd, harddrive, and video card. This is because those things will be dropping down in price.

New ssd generation coming out late March, will be dropping current ones down in price. Hopefully that drives down traditional hd pricing. Nvidia and Ati are both releasing a dual gpu card soon, although I think it is more like late April. But regardless, video cards will never go up in price, only down, unless there is some crazy shortage in the market, which I do not see happening.

I know 850w is a bit much if I only end up with 1 570 but I figured it would come in handy if I picked up a second, not to mention I figured if I was to spend that much on a PSU I should make sure it's big enough that I can use it in a future build.

I've actually worked with the OCZ Vertex in a build and I liked it very much. The only reason I've gone with the Corsair or Crucial is because they are already running the sata 3 or 6gbs technology so they are a bit faster with read speeds (I think? But maybe slower or equivalent with write speeds?).

Thanks for the advice on the possible price drops on SSD's, HDD's, and GPU's! This build will take me at least a few months so I will definately save those components for last.
 
OP
F

fixall

Registered
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Feb 21, 2011
I said this already to someone today but I'm waiting till April for my next case. Corsair id bringing out the mid-tower version of the 800D: http://www.corsair.com/cases/obsidian-series/obsidian-series-650d.html

And I also did the same thing for sandybridge, I dont have a need for hyperthreading so I went with the 2500k :)

Lastly Corsair makes a great PSU but for my next purchase I'll be getting a Seasonic. They manufacture their psu's unlike most companies out there, and always have top notch quality and crazy efficiency. not to mention its a usa based company :)

OMG! Thank you!!! I've been in love with the 800D for quite some time, but it was just a bit too big and a bit too expensive. Quite a few people have told me not to skimp on the case as I can use it in future builds so I increased that part of my budget a bit. I will MOST DEFINATELY be picking up the 650D when it's out. And at $200... Not bad! Thank you!

P.S.
I've known about Seasonic PSU's but from what I've seen their Gold rated PSU's are a bit more expensive then the Corsair 850 version. I believe it depends on the model of Corsair's PSU when trying to figure out which company made the actual unit for them, but I think the Gold 850 is made by Seagate for them anyways. I've also heard that the Seasonic's version is a bit louder?
 
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adriana

Member
Joined
May 21, 2005
Location
Los Angeles
I recently built a computer for my brother using the p8p67 pro and it sucks! bunch of bio problems that needs to be resolved. I am unable to sleep/hibernate, will BSOD. Disabling PLL was suppose to eliminate sleep problems but it does not seem to work for us. check this thread out for problems people are having.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1578865
 
OP
F

fixall

Registered
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
I recently built a computer for my brother using the p8p67 pro and it sucks! bunch of bio problems that needs to be resolved. I am unable to sleep/hibernate, will BSOD. Disabling PLL was suppose to eliminate sleep problems but it does not seem to work for us. check this thread out for problems people are having.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1578865

Thanks for the heads up Adriana! I've been reading a lot of good things about the asrock extreme4 so I think I'll be going for that unless they come out with something better for the price around early April.
 

Raypundo

Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2004
Location
Edmonton, Ab
How long is the timespan you are buying parts over?

2-3 months can mean a few price drops if you can just save up and purchase it near the end. Could mean one level higher of a component for the same cost.

Items like a monitor, speakers, mouse, keyboard can all be used right away though :)

For a keyboard I like the Logitech G15 (old one though, not the new one). The extra macro keys on the left are great. The key spacing was perfect for my hands as well. The built in screen is nice, but for a MMORPG, it just showed info that was already on the screen, but it was good to watch temps or something while gaming :attn:

+1 for Corsair power supply, mine has been good to me so far.
 

crazyman2501

Member
Joined
May 7, 2008
Location
Minneapolis, MN
don't think anyone has commented on the keyboard yet but I actually just got a black widow keyboard and am already getting it returned. the build quality on mine was terrible, some of the keys didn't even work.

sadly I am addicted to the mechanical feel now. I am actually getting a das keyboard, if you are a student you can get a 24% discount which brings it a little above $100.

also have the option for either blue or brown switches. the black widow uses blue switches and it seemed that it was a tad bit difficult to double tap with.
 
OP
F

fixall

Registered
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Feb 21, 2011
don't think anyone has commented on the keyboard yet but I actually just got a black widow keyboard and am already getting it returned. the build quality on mine was terrible, some of the keys didn't even work.

sadly I am addicted to the mechanical feel now. I am actually getting a das keyboard, if you are a student you can get a 24% discount which brings it a little above $100.

also have the option for either blue or brown switches. the black widow uses blue switches and it seemed that it was a tad bit difficult to double tap with.

Wait.... Das gives a student discount!?! On any of their keyboards? Please say it's so!? Those things are gorgeous and feel incredible. I just couldn't talk myself into spending $120+ on on pre shipping and taxes.

That's too bad about the Blackwidow... A couple people on other forums have said the same. :(
 
OP
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fixall

Registered
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Feb 21, 2011
Where can you get Windows 7 for that cheap. I am in college and it would be cool if I could get it for that price also.

I just typed in "Windows 7 professional student discount" into google and there was a link directly to the special on Microsoft's website. Kind of cool that you get a Windows XP compatability mode out of the deal. :)
 
OP
F

fixall

Registered
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
I recently built a computer for my brother using the p8p67 pro and it sucks! bunch of bio problems that needs to be resolved. I am unable to sleep/hibernate, will BSOD. Disabling PLL was suppose to eliminate sleep problems but it does not seem to work for us. check this thread out for problems people are having.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1578865

Any idea about the P8P67 Deluxe...?